Things are getting tense in the Zero Waste household.  I have had to hide my husband’s disposable toothbrush because of course, it is erm, disposable.  Will the magic place take it as a rigid plastic?  Just how magic is the magic place really?  I think I need to find out.  I need to go there and find out where the magic place sends all these bits of plastic I am sending its way.  I start some investigation work with the council, more on this soon.


So I keep recharging and cleaning his rather grubby rechargeable toothbrush and leaving it out for him, but I suspect foul play so resort to hiding the disposable one in my office…..


I also discovered an opened box of cotton ear buds!  The realisation that our Zero Waste week is failing is making the house a very tense place to be, and I think everyone is hiding from me…… including the dogs after having their ball taken away. But what can I do with those used ear buds?  Surely if I separate the plastic from the cotton, I can recycle the plastic at my magic place, and the cotton can go on the compost? This can be done apparently unless the buds have been soaked in nasty stuff like nail varnish, and the whole thing can be composted if the stems are made from paper or cardboard, so I make a note to buy paper based ear buds next time, get on with the fiddly dissection job, and in the meanwhile hide the rest of the cotton buds and put out a flannel for ear cleaning duty (nice).


So after the usual breakfast and walk routine, I have a couple of skype calls about interesting things including sustainable aviation fuel and algae.  Then I am off, leaving the house for the rest of the day, armed with my reusable bottle, a tupperware box of raisins, two apples and an orange, and some rice cakes and hummus in my reusable M&S sandwich cooler bag.  Eco chic at its finest in my opinion, but they do take up a lot of room in my bag, and I feel like a student again, but I kind of like it.


I am offered lunch at one of my meetings, and have to politely decline, which I am a little mortified about, especially when they bring out lovely fruit portions (in plastic tubs) and also some vegetarian sushi.  Hmm, nevermind.  I explain the zero waste thing, and I end up eating very little because it seems that rice cakes make an embarrassing amount of mess when consumed in meetings.


On the tube on the way home I lament the number of newspapers on the floor – it seems like such a waste of paper and energy used to produce something so transient, not to mention the cleaning burden it place on TFL, and all for what amounts to quite a lot of drivel in some of the free papers.  I digress again.


Luckily my journey is punctuated with an exciting piece of correspondence from the marigold team about those bouillon containers I didn’t know what to do with on day two.  Here is their response in its full glory;


“HI Georgina. Thanks for your email. I have this on file from the producers of our pots. Regards

Environmental Statement – Resealable Paperboard Cans for Marigold Bouillon:

Questions related to packaging & the environment have been around in Europe for a long time & the U.K. is now in the process of catching up. It is always a great debate driven by logic, tax, collection, perception & reality.  The status of the board can today is:

  • The empty can with seamed metal base will be removed from the waste stream by magnetism (where it has a paper base it goes to landfill or in the Paper recovery chain) & be processed in the Metal recovery stream. (The can body is used as energy for the metal recovery).
  • The can has one of the highest levels of recycled material in the packaging chain, in excess of 50%. (What’s the point of collecting if you cannot use it).  
  • Marigold’s Recycled Paper produced by Sonoco, (who are official U.K. recyclers in their own right), & used in the can has been recycled up to 5 times before being used to produce can board, so it has no residual value. Another way is to say that the board was saved from the grave for one last use on the can!
  •  The Plastic cap goes in the Plastic collection stream.
  • The food products packed in our board cans are protected from direct contact with recycled board by the use of a high grade barrier liner.”


Erm, what!?  No wonder some people get confused about what they can recycle.  All they needed to say was “the cardboard is made of high % recycled content and you should be able to recycle again through your local council collection, but do check with them.”  I am still waiting to hear the verdict from Wandsworth, so that soup could be the deal breaker this week….


My husband suggests we go out for supper when I get home.  I have been dreaming about nice food all day after my rice cake lunch, and would like nothing more than to go to our local thai place.  But how can I justify a meal out unless I know they recycle everything that transported and went into my meal?  Even if they do recycle the materials the council will take away it is highly unlikely that they recycle all those things that the council won’t take.  I check their website hoping for a zero waste policy, but don’t find anything.  I could of course offer to take away all the materials that they will throw out associated with my meal, but add in a small language barrier, and they will certainly think I am insane.  And take away would of course be cheating, even if I took my own Tupperware for them to fill.

However all is not lost!!  A quick search tells me that we could go to Jamie Oliver’s Diner – his new restaurant in Piccadilly Circus, which claims to be zero waste.  Hurrah for him!  However two things stand in our way, firstly we cannot be bothered to go to Piccadilly circus, and also on closer inspection I am not sure if it is so much Zero Waste, as Zero food waste. Good but no cigar.  I will email them for clarification and will update when I hear.

So we end up staying in and eating M&S fishcakes (paper box, plastic tray both can be recycled in our household recycling, plastic film and sauce packet washed and to the magic place) and salad (plastic bag and tray to the magic place.) Chocolate for pudding – paper in the household recycling, foil to the magic place, with a large helping of sulking on the side.